Recently I have been selling old books on Amazon. I discovered that it is actually a great way to get rid of them. The Amazon Marketplace is a very efficient and fairly easy to use system for sellers. And the prices are surprisingly high.
I tend to read books only once. I have about 10 favorite books that I can read over and over, but besides those I generally never read a book twice. If it makes a good reference book about trading or programming, then I might look at it many times. I take care of them and after I have read them they are still in new condition. That means they fetch a high price on Amazon.
Actually, it depends on the book. There are some books that have thousands of copies for sale, many for the price of just 1 cent. (You get to pay shipping, so it is actually $4 including shipping.) Those books are not worth selling. But many other books can sell for nearly the Amazon price of a new book.
After selling books for a few months, I decided that it is too much work to package and ship individually. That’s where Fulfillment by Amazon comes in. You ship your books to Amazon in bulk, and when you sell them Amazon ships them for you. Also, they handle returns and customer service. It’s a pretty good value proposition because it frees me from all the work of sending out the books.
So far, I have had a very good experience with Fulfillment by Amazon. The only problem I have is the high fees. For a $10 book, I paid $5 in fees. So it seems very expensive. I guess it might work well if you don’t want to spend the time and energy to send out books individually. Or, if you have books that sell for a high price. As the price goes up, the portion that Amazon takes goes down.
Ultimately it is about leverage, and that’s why I like the system. It’s fine to make a few dollars and get rid of old books, but it is much more interesting to me to find ways of making more money. Since Amazon makes it easy to sell large numbers of books without doing much work, it frees me to think about and solve more interesting problems. Like, what is the optimum price to charge for a book? What are the most profitable books? Where can I find good supplies of books, and more specifically, the most profitable books?
Making $5 on a book sounds like a waste of time, but that is only true if the volume is small. If you move 100 books per day, that is $500 per day. That means $182,000 per year. And, if you can do it with 4 hours work, it is $125 per hour. Not bad for a business that you can continually improve and find ways of scaling up.
The whole point of this post is the power of being open to new ideas. For years I was aware of Amazon Marketplace but I thought it was a complete waste of time. I discovered that the more I explore it the more new and interesting ways I find of making money. That seems to be a very good use of time.